By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Exactly where Jake Coons best fits on the football field is an intriguing question. It’s also a question that has been tossed out a lot over Coons’ career. Is the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Solon senior a tight end or a defensive end? Could the Iowa recruit be a future linebacker or lineman? Is the Coons more effective on offense or on defense? The potential as well as the possible positions for the multi-talented Coons appear almost unlimited. “What Iowa has told me is probably a tight end but I’m listed as an athlete so I will play where ever,” Coons said. “I’m open to playing anywhere.” Coons has lined up in an array of different spots on both sides of the ball in his first two varsity seasons. Offensively, Coons has lined up in the back field as an H-Back, played tight end and split out as a wide receiver while catching 27 passes for 431 yards and five touchdowns over the past two seasons. On defense Coons has made 35 tackles and added a sack as a defensive end and outside linebacker. “We have asked a lot of him because we have moved him around a lot,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “We have tried to utilize some of his strengths and I think we are doing a better job this year of putting him in a position where he can be most effective and successful.” The position flexibility led recruiting service 247Sports to classify Coons as an athlete. Coons is tabbed a three-star prospect by 247Sports and the 13th best 2017 recruit in the state. Solon senior linebacker Trevor Nelson isn’t sure about the future position or the recruiting ranks of his teammate but offered his own description of Coons.“He’s a scary dude on the football field,” Nelson said. “With his size and his speed….he’s a scary dude out there.” Before Coons found a permanent position on the field he already settled on his future home. Coons verbally committed to Iowa last December after picking up an additional offer from Iowa State. The decision to join the Hawkeyes was an easy one for Coons who is one of five in-state commitments for the Hawkeyes. “I grew up as an Iowa fan, so I loved them from the beginning and I was just waiting for them to offer,” Coons said. “That was a part of it but it was also the kids that had already committed. Guys like (Mount Vernon lineman) Tristan (Wirfs) that kind of helped it too and with Eno (Benjamin) and A.J. (Epenesa) that was just kind of a bonus.” Coons has settled into his Iowa commitment, now he’s looking for a breakthrough season to cap his prep career.
Last year Coons was limited to 10 receptions for 233 yards and three touchdowns while battling a lingering ankle injury. “A lot of people don’t understand that, there were three or four games where he had a high ankle sprain and those are the types of things that just don’t get better,” Miller said. “This year we need to be more mindful of what we are trying to do to get him involved both offensive and defensively.” Coons still plans to line up all over the field on offense this season. A nightmare for opposing defenders with his speed and size Coons is a mismatch waiting to happen. On defense he plans to settle into a new role along the defensive line but doesn’t have a problem continuing to move around to make plays. “I think I’m going to play defensive end,” Coons said. “We have some solid linebackers and I think defensive end is the main position that I can help us the most on defense.” A big year from Coons would be a key in helping Solon improve on a disappointing 6-5 mark from last season. The Spartans were bounced from the 3A playoffs in the second round for the second year in a row last fall with a 37-14 loss to West Delaware. “Last year it stung a little bit,” Coons said. “We knew that we had to start stepping it up and the seniors we knew we had to stand up and be leaders and we are trying to do that.”